The Conservatives have confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets about the forthcoming Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. Their candidate will be Kashif Ali, who also stood for them here in the general election.
Mr Ali, who is lives in Higginshaw and works as a barrister, had been widely expected to stand again following his strong performance back in May. He added almost four thousand votes to the Tory total from the 2005 election, turning the constituency into a real three-way marginal.
During the last election, Mr Ali put economic regeneration and jobs at the centre of his campaign. You can read and listen to his interview with Saddleworth News here.
The Conservatives have set up a website for the campaign here. With Debbie Abrahams chosen as Labour’s candidate, and Elwyn Watkins standing again for the Lib Dems, we now know for certain the identity of all three main contenders.
The by-election is thought likely to be held on 20 January or 3 February. Candidates from UKIP, the Greens, the BNP and Respect are also expected to enter the contest. Saddleworth News will once again be carrying out in-depth interviews with all the candidates between now and polling day, whenever that turns out to be!
For full coverage of the by-election so far from Saddleworth News, click here.